Institutional Puritanism And Censorship At

While ‘free speech’ is something that goes down big in theory in capitalist heartlands like the United States, in practice the protestant heritage of the WASP elite in North America means that today’s online web 2.0 environment is in reality heavily censored. High-handed bans on platforms like Facebook, Photobucket and YouTube are well known and generate much commentary. To give just one notorious example, earlier this year Facebook removed the painting Ema by Gerhard Richter that had been posted on the platform by the Pompidou Centre to promote a Richter retrospective. Against such dumb-ass attitudes Matt Mullenweg of likes to pose as a libertarian defender of freedom of expression on Web 2.0. He’s even been quoted as saying: “ supports free speech and doesn’t shut people down for ‘uncomfortable thoughts and ideas’, in fact we’re blocked in several countries because of that.”
You’d have thought then that unlike Facebook, Photobucket and YouTube, wouldn’t disallow ‘pornography’ in their terms of service. But check those terms and you’ll find that they do! Of course, like all those corporate sites that ban users from posting ‘pornography’, this is just a catchall term allowing WordPress to censor anything they like. One person’s pornography is another’s social critique and/or art. In the case of it seems they’ve banned what they brand ‘pornography’ on their free site in an attempt to driver users onto their paid for hosting services. Like’s use of ads on their ‘free’ site, this is just another capitalist scam (they’ll remove ads from you blog if you pay an annual fee)
And check out the messages sent to those running blogs disables: ” “If your blog is designed to promote affiliate links, get rich quick programs, banner ads, consists solely or mostly of duplicate or automatically generated material, or is part of a search engine marketing campaign, is not the place for you.” You’d think WordPress were living in the 19th century since it seems they’ve never encountered appropriation art and conceptual writing in all their unoriginality – nor understood the nature of their break with the old order of representation… Like the ban on ‘pornography’, the phrase ‘consists solely or mostly of duplicate or automatically generated material’ is designed as a subjective catchall to allow to disable blogs and thereby drive users off their ‘free’ service in the hope they’ll then cough up the dosh for hosting. After all, if genuinely didn’t want duplicate material on their site then they wouldn’t include a reblogging button on it would they! Ultimately censors nearly as much as Facebook and is just as stupid – both suffer from institutional puritanism despite their on the surface rather different agendas….. And this illustrates very well that there are no alternatives under capitalism!
And while you’re at it don’t forget to check – – you know it makes (no) sense!


Comment by Frank Ryan on 2012-10-24 00:48:17 +0000

There’s no such thing as a free lunch!

Comment by Maria Pérez-Pujazón on 2012-10-24 01:02:15 +0000

I think it is actually search engines that penalize duplicate content, and wp that is supposed to be seo-friendly (but this I’ll never understand because the whole thing with blogs are feeds which are just duplicates of your content delivered to suscribers)… its such a mess

Comment by anon on 2012-10-24 01:21:01 +0000

Wait, isn’t it that the far left that wants to censor so much from the eyes of the masses with its far reaching hypoallergenic “safe space” and “trigger warning” obsessions?

Comment by Michael Roth on 2012-10-24 03:31:52 +0000

Just finding out about this now. When was the site disabled? Certainly agree with the blog. However, the worst part is that I had some great comments there!

Comment by lkj on 2012-10-24 05:19:17 +0000

the far left – and most of the working class – maintain that there should be no freedom for the bourgoisie to exploit us. “freedom” is a treasured concept for the bougoisie precisely because it is the freedom to exploit and control workers. nothing else.

Comment by Lucy Johnson on 2012-10-24 07:46:01 +0000

I say bah!

Comment by mistertrippy on 2012-10-24 11:53:41 +0000

It is interesting to see how people just use freedom to mean everyone doing what the believe in. Sometimes people divide freedoom into ‘freedom from’ (hunger etc.) and ‘freedom to’ (exploit others etc.) – but this is a bit simplistic.

Comment by Chus Martinez on 2012-10-24 12:51:32 +0000

Keep exposing those ‘free speech’ hypocrits till it hurts!

Comment by Lucy Johnson on 2012-10-24 13:41:47 +0000

I suppose you have to draw the line somewhere but over poor Chuz? I say never!

Comment by mistertrippy on 2012-10-24 14:15:51 +0000

I think the prohibition on nudity on all platforms is ridiculous. That said taking for granted the legal restrictions on certain forms of exploitation across the world (child abuse etc.), then a platform like WordPress needs to be really clear how it defines pornography – just using the word pornography as something prohibited is a catchall. I also don’t think the distinction between art and pornography is particularly useful – “one (wo)man’s erotic is another’s porn and vice versa” as the old saying goes…. And do they mean pictures of sexual activity, nudity or just certain types of sexual activity depicted in certain ways, or do they mean written descriptions of sex as well? It just isn’t clear. To promote yourself as a defender of free speech and then act the way WordPress does is just hypocritical……

Comment by Lucy Johnson on 2012-10-24 19:05:20 +0000

It most certainly is bollox.

Comment by Lucy Johnson on 2012-10-24 22:01:37 +0000

I have just had the misfortune to trip over some opinion from someone called Brendan O’Neill about the Savil furore on my F B feed. What a prize wally. Opinions on this blog are much more sane I am relieved to find. As for poor Chuz why won’t they let her run free? Discuss.

Comment by Lucy Johnson on 2012-10-24 22:03:24 +0000

I think the distinction between art and pornography is useless.

Comment by Lucy Johnson on 2012-10-24 22:06:01 +0000

Illegal acts are illegal acts however. There are criminal laws for that sort of thing. And I am well gutted that J S went to his death having got away with what he did and no the reaction to it is not hysteria silly clever clever commentator who is not nearly as clever a he thinks…

Comment by Lucy Johnson on 2012-10-24 22:06:39 +0000

As he thinks. ‘Scuse.

Comment by mistertrippy on 2012-10-24 22:35:55 +0000

Yes i got sick of those John Peel fanboys responding to any criticism of him for marrying a 15 year old when he was twenty-six and having sex with girls as young as 13 when he was in his mid-twenties ( John Peel’s own line being they wanted to be absued) as a ‘witch hunt’. Given the way the Savile story keeps breaking bigger I may return to it with a post here…

Comment by Lucy Johnson on 2012-10-25 08:07:14 +0000

Maybe it is a ‘witch hunt’ for them because they basically think think the antics of Savil et al are/were ok.

Comment by Lucy Johnson on 2012-10-25 08:10:03 +0000

May well be worth returning to-it is a ginormous issue-and combined with this weird puritanism (silencing poor Chuz)-toxic.

Comment by The Man in the Iron Mask on 2012-10-25 11:53:25 +0000

Re ‘John Peel fanboys’: whatever the DJ’s merits – and there are some – the cult around him makes me wretch. Ditto the religious mania surrounding St Joe Strummer – an icon without merits. Plus Blessed Paul Weller – not quite sainted yet – is regularly trundled down the aisle. He has a sacred niche at the BBC where the execs running the music strands are deeply in love with him. I resent the fact that the my license fee supports this middle-class laddism: it gives repressed homosexuality a bad name… These BBC execs are also a bunch of self-censoring poltroons. In the Punk Britannia series they played down the Pistols’ GOD SAVE THE QUEEN and the boat-trip fearful that this glorious riposte to the craven 1977 jubilee celebrations would upset the power-that-be during 2012’s royal festival of lickspittles/diamond jubilee. This kind of self-censoring compliance, toadying to the monarchy as well as celebrity and the feared chimera of Public Opinion, is one reason the Savile affair is such a mess… I am sure tho that while Rome burns, the fiddling – all puns intended – will continue: expect a duet on Later with Paul Weller and the programme’s Dean of Proper Musicianship, Jules THE TINKLING TIT Holland. In the audience will sit that laureate of middle-class laddism Nick Hornby, the only man I’ve ever seen blow smoke into his own eyes. He really should spend more time rehearsing his cigarettes behind the bike-shed.

Comment by mistertrippy on 2012-10-25 23:34:43 +0000

Agree with you completely about Strummer, Weller and Holland… The Beeb might need ’em but we sure don’t!

Comment by Lucy Johnson on 2012-10-26 08:13:11 +0000

Hmmmm middle class laddism yes it is not good-I have known one or two in my time. And Paul Weller worship is most mysterious. So the Beeb are a bunch or a*** lickers. Jules H never turned me off in the same way-to be honest I was never sure what to make of him but ‘TINKLING TIT’ is good. About the only authoritative info I have on him is that his suits are very expensive. Nick Hornby less offensive maybe because the hero worship around writers is not as nauseating as that which is reserved for the likes of Blessed Paul Weller. Well with all this Savil stuff one really does wonder what do journalists DO? They certainly don’t investigate anything-what a bunch of scum bags. Maybe Mr Trippy could deconstruct the ‘fan boy’ phenomenon for us. That would be good. 🙂

Comment by Lucy Johnson on 2012-10-26 08:28:12 +0000

I was once given a Jools Holland CD as a present but I have never played it because actually I didn’t like it-all over serious ‘musicianship’ and not much in the way of a tune. Squeeze I thought were alright-one or two records were memorable and pleasant-to what extent was his involvement in this combo? And while we’re at it my mind flits to Madness who I met when a youngster (“friends of friends)-luckily they didn’t try to interfere with me! They seem to have become some sort of pop aristocracy. I am just soliciting Mr Trippy at al’s opinion if you don’t mind!

Comment by Lucy Johnson on 2012-10-26 08:30:59 +0000

I like that Scroobius Pip record when he roll calls all these supposedly amazing groups and reminds people that they are ‘just a band’. This bizarre lionisation of pop stars and by extension any old celeb.

Comment by The Man in the Iron Mask on 2012-10-26 10:36:45 +0000

Re Squeeze: it is Glenn Tillbrook, not J Holland, playing the electric keyboards and synths on the the band’s albums – the Tinkling Tit was not wanted in the studio, which I am sure was one reason he left the band to torture the rest of us with his Bermondsey boogie-woogie… His suits are expensive but don’t quite conceal the fact that he has no mid-torso: the bottom of his chest is joined straight onto his waist. The malignant homunculus married into the minor aristocracy. I met the wife years ago when she was in the service of Ch4 bigwigs running the Tube. For reasons best known to my Father Confessor, a decade or so ago I attended the Tinkling Tit’s 40th birthday party. I was there about as long as the time it takes Gilbert and George to sing Underneath the Arches, and downed a very rapid bottle of red. My act of bad faith in being there – which to this day still leaves a bad taste in the mouth – was further compounded by exchanging a few words with Zoe Ball.

Comment by Lucy Johnson on 2012-10-26 11:58:26 +0000

That is very funny TMITIM. 40 plus dating-eh? Is that one from Spam Mail U Like?

Comment by Lucy Johnson on 2012-10-26 12:00:58 +0000

Could someone enlighten as to John Peel’s merits? I never had an opinion on him either…

Comment by The Man in the Iron Mask on 2012-10-26 12:31:42 +0000

40-plus dating? It’s carbon-dating which I am in need of tho my Iron Mask is in peak condition while all else corrodes around it… Much to say about Peel but that should wait for the promised Mr Trippy blog…

Comment by Lucy Johnson on 2012-10-26 21:39:17 +0000

I need a good nights sleep. I have been living it up to my detriment…

Comment by mistertrippy on 2012-10-27 00:38:22 +0000

40-plus dating got past my spam filter but couldn’t get around me… John Peel was a smug git who seemed to work on the basis of throw enough shit at the wall and some will stick. I can’t stand much of what he championed (The Fall and The Undertones stand out as particularly bad and particularly liked by him) – but he was playing Marc Bolan and Adam and the Ants before any other Radio One jock – and the likes of Dave Lee Travis, Simon Bates and Tony Blackburn were just as smug as Peel, and probably played even less decent records. Blackburn refused to play many T. Rex hits coz he didn’t like them (tosser) but he did seem to like Motown…. There is nothing good I can think of to say about The Hairy Monster or Master Bates….

Comment by Lucy Johnson on 2012-10-27 08:05:57 +0000

Wasn’t The Fall something to do with some one called Mark E Smith and Brux who now runs an outrageously expensive boutique in Shoteditch-clothing all the Shoreditch twats! I never heard anything by them. Wasn’t the Undertines Fergal Sharkey? I am sure before T B there was another DJ on Sar morn on BBC and I always liked it when they played ‘The Runaway Train’ and ‘Little White Bull’. Well I was five! Cool taste in music be gone!

Comment by Lucy Johnson on 2012-10-27 08:06:31 +0000

Brux? I think I mean Brix!

Comment by Lucy Johnson on 2012-10-27 08:21:49 +0000

Ed Stewart ‘Junior Choice’ apparently Tony Blackburn hated it-I am surmising they didn’t want to play the old time platters that children actually like but to usher us into this wretched X Factor era of celebrity…

Comment by mistertrippy on 2012-10-27 13:32:20 +0000

Brix joined The Fall later on. I saw The Fall at The Marquee in 1978 before she was in the band and they were really boring.When I was a kid I used to keep turning that dial as there was no single good radio station. Aside from Radio One I used to listen to Radio Luxembourg, Radio London, Capital Radio (from 1973), Radio Jackie (back when it was a pirate), Radio Msocow and American Forces Network, amongst others…

Comment by Lucy Johnson on 2012-10-27 17:03:13 +0000

My dad ruled the Radio airwaves I didn’t have my own set until I was pretty much grown. Hence was exposed to a lot of Radio 3, Folk on 2 (yikes) but we always put the Top 40 on and I was an avid reader of Smash Hits-which I believe was actually pretty well written. Tom Hibbert was very funny-particularly as ‘Black Type’. When I finally got to go to a gig I was 16 and saw Public Enemy at UEA! I have never heard of Radio Jackie. I will look it up! We didn’t have a TV as dad did not want to pay the licence fee and despised most of it. My mum used to do a lot of knitting of an evening-the mad woman! Plenty of books and comics abounded.

Comment by Lucy Johnson on 2012-10-27 17:03:58 +0000

Not forgetting the ubiquitous Radio 4…

Comment by Lucy Johnson on 2012-10-27 17:05:19 +0000

Now you can’t tear the oldies away from Strictly-presumably that’s senility setting in!

Comment by Lucy Johnson on 2012-10-27 19:30:55 +0000

Stop spamming Mr Trippy you rotters!

Comment by mistertrippy on 2012-10-27 20:44:36 +0000

That’s rather different to my childhood listening then – plus I had TV (black and white only) but didn’t watch it that much apart from pop music shows and horror and sci-fi film….

Comment by Lucy Johnson on 2012-10-27 23:21:05 +0000

Funny how cultural landscapes can diverge and converge!

Comment by Lucy Johnson on 2012-10-27 23:21:43 +0000

Funny how cultural landscapes can diverge and converge! We went to the cinema quite a bit which was great.

Comment by Lucy Johnson on 2012-10-27 23:34:19 +0000

Many comments-excuse me for deluging you-and quite a few of them off topic. Please forgive.

Comment by mistertrippy on 2012-10-28 00:27:14 +0000

I went to the cinema a lot too – and most of what I saw there was in colour…. you couldn’t see Bruce Lee or Cleopatra Jones on TV then, but I did have to lie about my age to get in!

Published At